It’s the final day of July, which means we now have 33 days left in our countdown to kickoff. Oklahoma Sooners head football coach Lincoln Riley is 33 years old, making him the youngest head coach in the FBS this season. The next youngest is Western Kentucky head coach Mike Sanford Jr. at 35.
While most football fans wouldn’t expect an elite program like OU to be manned by such a young coach, it is certainly nothing new for the Sooners. Bob Stoops was 38 when he was first brought in. Barry Switzer was only 35, Bud Wilkinson a fresh 31, and even Bennie Owen was only 30. If Riley’s youth was ever a reason to doubt his ability, history has emphatically said otherwise.
If those previous examples are not enough of a reason to alleviate any concerns, also consider this: Lincoln Riley has been in a coaching role of some capacity since 2003, where he began as a student assistant at Texas Tech for three years under iconic coach Mike Leach. From there he moved to a graduate assistant role for a season for the Red Raiders, coached receivers for three years, became offensive coordinator and QB coach at East Carolina for four seasons, then retained those roles while also adding assistant head coach at ECU. This will be his third season with OU. Add it all up and he has 14 years of tutelage and coaching experience heading into the 2017 campaign.
Around the Big XII, Lincoln Riley will obviously be the youngest head coach, but there are others who are still quite young themselves, relatively speaking. Iowa State’s Matt Campbell will be 37 entering the 2017 season, and Texas Tech’s Kliff Kinsgbury will be 38 in August. One could say there’s a bit of a youth movement in the conference, aside from Bill Snyder of course.
Sooner fans are excited about what this new era of Oklahoma football has in store. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be seeing Lincoln Riley patrolling the sidelines for many, many years to come.
Bonus time! This addition to today’s edition of our countdown to kickoff commemorates number 33 fullback Trey Millard for giving us this unforgettable moment in OU - Texas history. A dazzling hurdle-stiff arm combo in route to another Oklahoma walloping of UT at the Cotton Bowl in 2012. Enjoy, and Boomer Sooner!